A white, woolly, prickly plant with rayless, crimson flower heads atop few upper branches terminating main stem.
With its blaze of red flowers accentuated by white foliage, this is perhaps the handsomest thistle among a group considered to be composed of aggressive weeds. The genus name Cirsium comes form the Greek kirsos, which means swollen vein, for which thistles were a reputed remedy. Snowy Thistle is one of an intergrading complex of forms and is sometimes considered a subspecies of C. occidentale. The thistles in this group vary, some with less densely hairy foliage, others with grayer hairs; some have white, rose, or purple disk flowers. These various forms occur from northern to southern California.
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page